The ABC’s of Antibiotics

Author: Jennifer Lambert, PharmD, MPA, UMCNO Clinical Pharmacist

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What are Antibiotics?

Antibiotics are types of medicine that help stop infections caused by bacteria. How they do this is by (1) killing the bacteria or (2) keeping the bacteria from reproducing.

The word antibiotic, itself, means “against life.”

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Did You Know?

An estimated 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths occur each year in the US due to antibiotic resistant infections.1 Antibiotics are drugs used to treat bacterial infections, not viral infections. Using antibiotics the wrong way can lead to antibiotic-resistant infections that cause illness or death. This is why healthcare providers are being more careful when prescribing antibiotics.

  • When not used correctly, antibiotics can be harmful to your health.
  • Antibiotics can cure most bacterial infections. Antibiotics cannot cure viral illnesses.
  • Antibiotics cause one out of five Emergency Department visits for drug-related side effects.
  • It is estimated that more than half of antibiotics are unnecessarily prescribed.1
  • Antibiotics can lead to severe forms of diarrhea that can be life- threatening, especially in elderly patients.
  • When you are sick, antibiotics are not always the answer

Antibiotics: The Alphabet Letter by Letter

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A (Ask)

  • “Are these antibiotics necessary?” and “What can I do to feel better?”

B (Bacteria)

  • Antibiotics do not kill viruses. They only kill bacteria.

C (Complete the Course)

  • Take all of your antibiotics exactly as prescribed (even if you are feeling better).

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How Can You Help Prevent Antibiotic Resistance?

  • Take antibiotics exactly as your healthcare provider instructs.
  • Only take antibiotics prescribed for you.
  • Do not save antibiotics for the next illness or share them with others.
  • Do not pressure your healthcare provider for antibiotics.

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Do You Need an Antibiotic?

Illness Virus Bacteria
Colds NO
Flu NO
Whooping cough YES
Strep throat YES
Most ear aches NO
Bronchitis NO
Pneumonia YES

What Can You Do to Help Yourself Feel Better if You Have a Viral Illness?

Pain relievers, fever reducers, decongestants, saline nasal spray or drops, warm compresses, liquids, and rest may be the best things to help you feel better. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist what symptom relief is best for you.

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Prescriptions for antibiotics can be filled and picked up at the Walgreens Pharmacy at UMC.

 

If you are in need of a healthcare provider, click here.

 

Citations:

1 CDC. Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013. 16 September 2013. 32.

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HPV, Not For Me: Preventing Human Papillomavirus & Cervical Cancer

Author: Stacey L. Holman, MD, UMC Women’s Health Center Director, LSU Health New Orleans Assistant Professor & Clinical OB/GYN

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As the new year begins, many women reflect on personal wellness and ways to get (and stay) healthy for the year to come. January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and this presents an opportunity to promote prevention of the human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer.

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HPV is a common infection that spreads via sexual activity and is the cause of nearly all cases of cervical cancer.

Approximately 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year in the United States. It is the 3rd leading cause of death among gynecologic cancers in the US. While this number is declining, cervical cancer is still considered a preventable cancer and vaccination for HPV is a key part of prevention.

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What are risk factors for cervical cancer?

  • Tobacco Use
  • HIV Disease
  • High-Risk Sexual Activity, Early Onset of Sexual activity
  • History of Sexually Transmitted Infection

The Gardasil vaccine is available in the outpatient setting for HPV prevention.

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Here’s what you need to know:

  • The vaccine is available for females ages 9-26.
  • It covers 9 HPV types and those types are responsible for 90% of cervical cancers.
  • Administration of the vaccine ideally begins between age 11-12 and prior to a young woman’s first encounter of sexual activity.
  • The vaccine series is available at pediatrician offices for those under the age of 15 and in the Women’s Health Clinic at UMCNO for those 15 and older.

In addition, visiting with a physician on a regular basis to discuss cervical cancer screening with the Pap test is important for prevention of disease.

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Some additional tips for cervical awareness and health include:

  • Women should see a provider yearly for a well-woman visit. This is an opportunity to review a wellness plan, discuss sexual health, and determine optimal timing for cervical cancer screening with the Pap test.  The Pap test is recommended for ages 21-65 but a schedule for screening is individualized to each patient depending on age and medical history.
  • Young patients (under age 21) should also see a provider yearly for a wellness visit. They should receive counseling on sexual health and protection against sexually transmitted infections including HPV.

For a list of the Top 10 Things to Know About HPV and Cervical Cancer, click here.

For other facts about Cervical Cancer, click here.

 

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Think happy, but most importantly, think healthy this 2018.

 

 

About Dr. Holman

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Stacey L. Holman, MD, is a three-time graduate of LSU — She attended undergraduate in Baton Rouge, the School of Medicine in New Orleans and then completed residency in the same system. Dr. Holman is the Associate Residency Program Director for the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at LSU Health in New Orleans. Dr. Holman also serves as the Ambulatory Services Director and Quality Improvement champion for the department.

She holds the position of Women’s Health Center Director at University Medical Center New Orleans. In this role, she is responsible for leadership in the areas of quality improvement and clinical operations.

Dr. Holman is a Fellow of American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and has served in several leadership roles within District VII.

Her clinical interests include adolescent pregnancy, cervical dysplasia, well-woman and preconception health.

She is a long time New Orleans resident along with her husband and their two young children, Ethan and Emma.